Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015: Maximum Shelf: Black Earth

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gallery Books: The Lion Women of Tehran by Marjan Kamali

Other Press (NY): Deliver Me by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Two Trees: Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher

Atlantic Monthly Press: I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger

Quotation of the Day

Bookshops 'Encourage Browsing, Dawdling & Discovery'

"No one can define the quality in a book that makes it command passionate loyalty from readers, and while some bestsellers are predictable, others have leapfrogged every idea about what readers should love. This is where physical bookshops and libraries are so important to readers, in spite of the convenience and ease of making an online purchase. We need to be able to see all the books that we dont know about yet. Bookshops encourage browsing, dawdling and discovery. They open byways that become high roads to new fields of understanding. They dont nag; they suggest. To be a reader in search of a book is more than to be a shopper who already knows what he or she wants to buy. Bookshops and libraries are places where books and readers come out of the private world, and make their claim on the public space. They say, visibly, how important books are to us."

--Author Helen Dunmore in a Guardian piece celebrating Independent Bookshop Week, which runs in the U.K. and Ireland from June 20-27

Neal Porter Books: Angela's Glacier by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Diana Sudyka


At Penguin, NAL Part of New Berkley Publishing Group

Effective July 1, in the Penguin Publishing Group, all Berkley and New American Library imprints are being combined to create the Berkley Publishing Group, which will be led by Leslie Gelbman, president of the group.

NAL will become an imprint of the Berkley Publishing Group, and beginning with the fall 2016 list, all nonfiction hardcover and trade titles will be published by NAL. All hardcover and trade fiction will be published under the Berkley Books imprint. Berkley and NAL already share marketing, publicity and advertising teams, and will now also have unified editorial, production and art departments. "A number of positions" in the editorial, managing editorial, art, copy and production departments are being ended.

Leslie Gelbman

In a memo, Gelbman said that that the "changes highlight our core strengths and firmly position us to provide the best possible forward-thinking, unwavering support and focus for our books and authors… Our goal has always been--and always will be--to find and publish author-driven projects that reach the wide range of readers who appreciate fiction and non-fiction with commercial appeal."

The changes come five months after the major reorganizations in other parts of Penguin. The Berkley and NAL changes are more related to mass market publishing, whose sales generally have declined in the digital era.

In connection with the changes:

Kara Welsh

Kara Welsh is promoted to senior v-p and publisher, the Berkley Publishing Group. She became publisher of NAL in 2001 and will be responsible for merging the two imprints, shaping our publishing program and managing day-to-day operations.

Claire Zion is promoted to v-p and editor-in-chief, Berkley Publishing Group, and will lead the newly combined editorial team. She has been NAL's editorial director.

Tom Colgan is promoted to v-p and editorial director, Berkley Publishing Group. He will work closely with Zion on building the list and integrating the editorial groups as well as overseeing the mystery program and science fiction/fantasy editors who acquire for Ace and Roc.  

Cindy Hwang is promoted to v-p and editorial director, Berkley Publishing Group. She will oversee the romance program and continue to build her women's fiction list.

Anthony Ramondo is named v-p, senior art director, Berkley Publishing Group. He was previously v-p, senior art director, NAL.

Judy Murello is promoted to v-p, art director, Berkley Publishing Group.

And in the Penguin Publishing Group art departments:

Paul Buckley, who has been with Penguin for 25 years, has been promoted to senior v-p, executive creative director, Penguin Publishing Group, overseeing the art departments for all the group's imprints with the exception of the Berkley Publishing Group.

Rich Hasselberger, v-p, executive creative director, Penguin Publishing Group, will be leaving the company as the result of the restructuring of the art departments.

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Norton Making All Titles Available to Libraries Digitally

On the eve of the American Library Association annual conference, W.W. Norton & Company has announced that it is making its entire catalogue of trade and professional e-books available to lending libraries. This includes frontlist and backlist published by Norton, the Countryman Press, Liveright Publishing Corporation and Norton's affiliated publishers: Albatross Publishing, C.I.R.C., Fantagraphics Books, George Braziller, New Directions, Odyssey Books, Guides and Maps, the Overlook Press, Peace Hill Press, Pegasus Books, Persea Books, Pushcart Press, Thames & Hudson, Tin House Books and the Quantuck Lane Press. 

Norton president Drake McFeely commented: "Norton prizes its excellent relationship with libraries in bringing works of note to enthusiastic readers, and we are delighted to have solidified agreements that will allow us to enjoy the same great publisher-librarian partnership involving e-books that we have long had with print books."

The titles will be available to libraries later this summer through Baker & Taylor, OverDrive and 3M.

Soho Crime: Ash Dark as Night (A Harry Ingram Mystery) by Gary Phillips

UCP's Carol Kasper Receives AAUP Constituency Award

Carol Kasper

University of Chicago Press marketing director Carol Kasper was presented with this year's Constituency Award during the Association of American University Presses annual meeting in Denver. The prize honors "an individual of a member press who has demonstrated active leadership and service, not only in service to the association but to the scholarly publishing community as a whole." In addition to serving a term on AAUP's board of directors from 2009 to 2011, Kasper has been a member of numerous committees and panels throughout the years.

"What makes Carol special and what uniquely qualifies her for this award are the people that Carol has mentored, supported, and trained in her time here in Chicago," said Garrett Kiely, director of University of Chicago Press and presenter of the award. "To put it in scholarly journal terms, her 'impact factor' has been very high."

In accepting the award, Kasper said: "I feel so honored to be recognized by the AAUP. It's been a true pleasure working these past 30 years with everyone in the university press community.  I've learned so much, and I hope what I've been able to offer has been useful for them!" Book Group Survey has launched a large-scale Book Group Survey, with the goal of "exploring how book groups discover and select books, as well as how they influence others." Readers who complete the survey, which will be open until July 15, are eligible to win gift certificates to the bookstore of their choice, including a grand prize of one $250 gift certificate, as well as 10 $100 gift certificates and 50 $25 gift certificates. 

Obituary Note: Frances Kroll Ring

Frances Kroll Ring, "the personal secretary to F. Scott Fitzgerald for the last 20 months of his life and a longtime source of information for biographers, documentary filmmakers, students and fans," died Thursday, the New York Times reported. Ring, who began working for Fitzgerald in 1939, typed drafts of The Last Tycoon "and served as a sounding board as he built the story, tore it apart, then put it back together again," the Times noted. Her memoir, Against the Current: As I Remember F. Scott Fitzgerald, was published in 1985.


Cool Idea of the Day: Doughnuts & Banned Books

Vortex Doughnuts in Asheville, N.C., is currently hosting the first of several planned "banned book giveaways" by offering free copies of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner through June 28, in conjunction with Riverhead Books. The Citizen-Times reported that "school officials suspended the use of the novel in a 10th grade honors English class at Reynolds High earlier this year after former school board member and parent Lisa Baldwin filed a formal complaint."

While an appeal of the decision is underway, Vortex Doughnuts has stepped up. "Riverhead Books reached out to us and asked if we would put on this campaign," said owner Ben Myers. "It's one of the most beloved titles they publish. Book banning happens in schools across the United States and, for us, we want to make [Vortex] a place of community where people come to think, read and talk."

Vortex started with 100 copies, but may have to reorder. No purchase is necessary to receive a free copy. "The fact that here coming into Vortex is a good thing for us and our neighborhood," said Myers. "There are still some people that haven't even been to the spot yet." He also noted that he isn't trying to shame people who felt the book was inappropriate for school-age children, saying, "We want people to celebrate reading and freedom of choice."

Beinecke Library Acquires Chipotle's 'Cultivating Thought' Series

Yale's rare-book library "has acquired a complete set of the Chipotle 'Cultivating Thought' series--the series of short, 'two-minute' essays and stories printed on the side of the company's disposable paper goods," the Atlantic reported.

Although the decision "sounds like a punch line," Chipotle's series, which was conceived by Jonathan Safran Foer and includes contributions by writers like George Saunders, Jeffrey Eugenides, Toni Morrison and Amy Tan, "joins a large archive of poetry printed on material on which poetry is not often printed," the Atlantic wrote. "The Beinecke Library's rare-book and manuscript library has collected poetry printed on the side of pencils, postage stamps, bumper stickers, and commercial paint chips. It includes poems on posters by Amiri Baraka and Gwendolyn Brooks."

"The Yale Collection of American Literature collects American Literature in all its formats and in all media, documenting the ways great American writers reach diverse and unusual audiences beyond standard book publishing," according to a statement from the library.

Paz Workshop: Bookstore Best Practices for New Owners

Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association and facilitated by Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, "Owning a Bookstore: The Business Essentials," a week-long workshop retreat for retail booksellers, will be held Sunday through Friday, August 23-28, at Amelia Island, Fla. Participants will learn best practices of the many aspects of the business, including how to create a profit in retail bookselling, how to assess the strength of a location, understanding the key elements of store design and how much space you need, how to buy books and non-book merchandise, the disciplines of managing inventory, how to effectively use bookstore computer systems to manage the store, effective and low cost marketing strategies, developing an exceptional staff and more.

Guest booksellers and trainers will share frontline expertise. ABA members are eligible for discounted tuition. For details, visit or call 904-277-2664.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jorja Leap on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Jorja Leap, author of Project Fatherhood: A Story of Courage and Healing in One of America's Toughest Communities (Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807014523).

On Stage: Misery

Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf will star in the Broadway production of Stephen King's Misery. reported that  William Goldman's stage adaptation, "the basis of the 1990 Kathy Bates/James Caan film for which he penned the screenplay," will begin performances October 22 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Opening night of a 16-week run is November 15.

Directed by Will Frears (Ominium Gatherum), the production has scenic design by David Korins (Motown), costumes by Ann Roth (The Book of Mormon), lighting by David Weiner (The Normal Heart) and sound by Darron West (Peter and the Starcatcher).

TV: Gunsights

Chris Provenzano, executive producer of FX's Justified, which was inspired by Elmore Leonard's novella Fire in the Hole, has signed an overall deal with AMC and is already working on a drama series adaptation of Leonard's 1979 novel Gunsights, reported. Provenzano was among the original writers on the first season of Mad Men, which was AMC's first original drama series.

Books & Authors

Awards: Miles Franklin

Sofie Laguna won the $60,000 (about US$46,350) Miles Franklin Literary Award, honoring a novel "of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases," for The Eye of the Sheep.

Speaking for the judging panel, Richard Neville said "the power of this finely crafted novel lies in its raw, high-energy, coruscating language which is the world of young Jimmy Flick, who sees everything. But his manic X-ray perceptions don't correspond with the way others see his world. His older brother understands him some of the time, and his mother almost all of the time, but other people, including his violent father, just see him as difficult. Weathering successive waves of domestic violence, Jimmy navigates his way through the shoals of alcohol abuse, illness and tragedy that swamp his parents, and ultimately reaches the possibility of equanimity. The Eye of the Sheep is an extraordinary novel about love and anger, and how sometimes there is little between them."

Book Brahmin: M.J. Arlidge

photo: Bill Waters

M.J. Arlidge has worked in British television for the past 15 years. His debut novel, Eeny Meeny, the first book in the Detective Inspector Helen Grace series, was just published in the U.S. by New American Library.

On your nightstand now:

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia by Michael Korda. It's an amazing book that really challenges the myth we have of this desert fighter. The time is ripe for a revisionist movie or series based on this book, but I suspect people might be happier with the myth.

Favorite book when you were a child:

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. It's a strange and often slightly scary read, but what child wouldn't be thrilled by the idea of rolling away from real life in a giant peach? The mark of a true genius is that only Roald Dahl could have come up with this idea or written this book.

Your top five authors:

Thomas Harris and Patricia Highsmith, because they fostered in me a love of serial killer novels. We all love the bad guys, don't we--preferring Darth Vader and Han Solo to the more nutritional Luke Skywalker--and the bad guys in their books are badder than most! Characters like Tom Ripley and Hannibal Lecter are utterly compelling and morally bankrupt, but also strangely believable and even human. Amoral characterization at its very best.

Graham Greene and J.G. Ballard for the fallen worlds they've given us. I love the sense of ennui, futility and sin in their novels. Their world is a fallen world in which we are all sinners--tainted to a greater or lesser degree. Some may find this bleak; I find it realistic as no one can honestly say they are wholly innocent. Again, you can't read a book by these two and not know who's written it. Their style and their take on the world are unique.

Stieg Larsson. He was the game changer for me. I devoured the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and it inspired me to start writing crime fiction. I loved everything about his books and resolved to write thrillers having read them--rather than police procedurals--because of the hit these books gave me.

Book you've faked reading:

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. It was fashionable when it came out, but I found it crushingly dull. I'm a heathen, I know, but I used it as a cure for insomnia. Never failed.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. It's as perfect as a crime novel gets. The structure is so surprising, the characters so compelling, and you get two serial killers for the price of one.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Ditto. Thomas Harris books have the best covers. Beautiful, but also very sinister.

Book that changed your life:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth Salander taught me that good guys don't have to be dull. This was the first book I'd read in which the protagonist was more interesting, complex and compelling than the bad guys she was hunting. A brilliant creation.

Favorite line from a book:

"After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain." The last line of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms is nothing special in itself, but given what's just happened, it's utterly brutal, allowing neither the reader nor his protagonist any time to recover from Catherine's death. As a last line it is utterly uncompromising and savagely powerful. The curt, aggressive ending of Eeny Meeny is my little act of homage to Hemingway.

Which character you most relate to:

Hannibal Lecter. Just kidding. Any of Roald Dahl's childish heroes or heroines. They are always downtrodden and ill treated, yet they somehow always triumph in inventive and colorful ways. I've just re-read George's Marvellous Medicine with my seven-year-old. What a funny and life-enhancing book it is.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Cry of the Owl by Patricia Highsmith. I didn't know what to expect from this one, as it isn't one of her famous ones. But I love it the best. It's a small-town thriller about a woman who falls in love with her own stalker--with tragic consequences for everyone involved. Very sinister, very claustrophobic and insidiously gripping.

Book Review

Children's Review: Leo: A Ghost Story

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illus. by Christian Robinson (Chronicle, $16.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 4-8, 9781452131566, August 25, 2015)

 Mac Barnett (Sam & Dave Dig a Hole) and Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) reimagine the classic ghost story to probe the idea of what it's like to be truly seen by a friend.

Readers first meet Leo on the title page, as he passes through a wall, pulling an elephant toy on wheels. Robinson thus establishes the rules: this ghost can interact with tangible objects. He limits his palette to variegated blues to achieve heightened emotion. On a table in the opening spread sits an old-fashioned candlestick phone. The ball of the mouthpiece echoes the round ends of a curtain rod. A diagonal blue patch where the wallpaper has peeled away connects these circular motifs. "This is Leo. Most people cannot see him." Indeed, there is no evidence of a person in sight.

With a turn of the page, Robinson reveals a smiling, ghost-white boy, outlined in blue acrylic paint, reading under the table with the telephone where there was no boy before: "But you can. Leo is a ghost." Immediately, Barnett and Robinson include readers in a special class of children who can see ghosts. Leo is transparent; his outline allows him to take on the characteristics of his surroundings. He has lived alone contentedly for years. But when a family moves in, he welcomes them with a tray of tea. Readers see what the family sees: a floating tray. When it's clear he's not wanted, Leo leaves of his own accord.

In the city, Barnett writes that a police officer "walked right through him," and Robinson depicts Leo as a white collage overlay atop the officer's leg, rendering the phrase literal. But a girl named Jane, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk nearby, sees Leo and introduces herself. The artist renders Jane as a blue collage figure with cornrows neatly secured in a ponytail. She invites him to play Knights of the Round Table. Jane, as king, knights Leo (she stands on a chair and uses a branch as her scepter). Barnett and Robinson celebrate play, as Jane breaks gender roles and includes Leo among her imaginary friends, including Sir Ruffs ("a loyal dog") and Sir Mews ("a loyal cat").

Leo worries that if he tells Jane he's a ghost, "I will scare her away." But that night, Leo uses his creativity and unique skills to scare away an intruder ("Later Leo would not be able to say where the idea came from," Barnett writes). This deceptively simple story examines deep themes of perception and truth, friendship and loyalty. When Leo risks being honest with Jane, their friendship deepens. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Mac Barnett and Christian Robinson's deceptively simple ghost story examines deep themes of perception and truth, friendship and loyalty.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank
2. Ember, Part Three by Deborah Bladon
3. Hold Me by Anna Zaires
4. Breathless in Love by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully
5. Just Say When by Kaylee Ryan
6. Heroes in Uniform by Various
7. Shut Up and Kiss Me by Madeline Sheehan
8. Healed by Love by Melissa Foster
9. A Marquis for Mary (The Notorious Flynns Book 5) by Jess Michaels
10. Perfect Together by Kimberly Knight

[Many thanks to!]

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